After my divorce and starting a new chapter in life free from abuse, I had a realization: I realized I had wasted my life. First by making wrong choices and then going through the healing process, which does not happen over night. What about the prime years of my life that I have lost? I love to sing. I wanted to be a singer – a career that requires practice, time and struggles before you get to enjoy the fruits of a full fledged singing career. While I struggled and battled with the odds in my life, the people I had known from my past have already achieved a lot and moved on in life, while I still am struggling trying to make the basics of survival possible each day. When ever I come across an old friend on face book, I realize how the years of my life are slipping by.
At this point I had to ask, “What do I want from life?”
Since re-living what I have lost now from my past is not possible, what is it that I need to be doing now? I left my family, my country, my ex-husband and till this day I struggle with court and immigration issues, to fight for my right of peace, of satisfaction which would bring me happiness. There it is! I know what I want from my life: I want to be Happy.
Now the question is – How do u stay happy? Do we know where our happiness truly is?
After all that I have accomplished, I felt I should be very happy already. I have many reasons to be happy: My boyfriend is the tall, dark, handsome love of my life; I have a beautiful daughter who I and my boyfriend love dearly; I am a motivating and inspiring person in my Domestic Violence Support group, which is what I always wanted to be; living in a city away from the town where I have bad memories of my past. I have the most loving friends; I have a good health; I didn’t have to get on pills due to depression or anxiety like many people I know who have had a similar past like mine. But too often I sniped at my boyfriend. I felt dejected after even a minor life setback. I lost my patience easily. Is that how a happy person would act?
I decided to study the subject of “Happiness.” (sounds weird, I know but that is how I am. Sometimes I like to get deep into my issues and fix it!) I read books, I watched Oprah’s Life Class episodes. I reflected upon my mom’s life ( yeah! She has had a heck of a life. To write about it I would need to start an entire new blog) and tried to observe what makes people truly happy around me. I also tried several ways to find my satisfaction and happiness and I can say: I did. I made myself happier. And along the way I learned a lot about how to be happier. Below is what I learned-
1. The very obvious– Sometimes we get too deep and intense to find our happiness. We push and tug and squeeze what we cannot even afford to do to begin with! The results of which is very short lived happiness followed with a lot of stress. I learned to start with basics, like getting sufficient sleep and eating enough to satisfy my hunger, not too much to fight stress or too little to feel sick. Every where I read in my study, sleeping and eating properly were the two factors that have a huge impact on happiness.
2. Let it simmer down– I have always vocalized my anger and irritation the moment I felt it. It only made me say way more than I actually meant to, hurt the people around me more than I ever wanted to, lasted longer and created more drama and long lasting consequences than I ever wished to! Take a time out instead from the situation that is making you upset. Try to not say nothing and hold it until you can ask yourself what is it actually that is making you upset. A lot of times little things that make us upset are really not the true reason of our anger. Focus on the true cause and try to work on that first!
3. Act it until you feel it– Deliberately make an effort to be happy. Start your day saying, “I am in a good mood today” even if you are sad deep down. I remember mornings where I woke up with tears flowing from my eyes but I kept telling myself, “This is a beautiful day. I am grateful. I am happy. I feel good and beautiful.” Saying is believing! Acting happy will eventually make you feel happy.
4. Try it– For the longest time living in abuse, covered in my own shell of introversion, I somewhere started feeling comfortable not trying new things. I was afraid to fail or not be able to face it or of the unexpected results. Trying something new, even if you fail is an experience you have learned from.You are only that much stronger and wiser and somewhere proud of giving it a try regardless of whether it worked out for you or not. And who knows what new change in life that might lead to..
5. Ask again– Creatures of habits that we are, we tend to not think sometimes our actions that have over and over only brought us misery. I use to eat non-stop without thinking, the junkiest food ever, that I knew was not good for my body but it got me through sad/stressful times… or so it felt at the moment! Next time you think about doing something harmful for your body, ask again if you really need a quick fix or is it worth hanging in there strongly to let it pass. Trust me, you will enjoy the results of this practice for a long time. You will feel proud of yourself and therefore happy!
6. Treat yourself– While money cannot always buy you happiness, it can help you fill some voids of security and fulfillment. To boost your happiness, find something every once in a while that you would truly enjoy splurging on and that will have a lasting happy effect on you. It could be something as simple as a lipstick or could be a little ‘cash’ to give some one who really needs it. I recently bought myself a Nutribullet. It was expensive but I knew it would make me happy to use it everyday to nourish my body.
7. Work with it– You are not perfect, may be neither is your life but you have to work with what you got. This is a lesson I had to teach myself several times! I have always been someone that wants things to be a certain way before I decide to work with it. For an example, this blog had to go through some major struggles. I had a picture in my mind of how my blog should look like before I started blogging. Of course I did not have the knowledge or finances to hire anyone to make it just the way I wanted. I realized time was passing by…Stuff I needed to share with the world was not being shared due to a very unimportant reason. The day I let go off my conditions for things to be a certain way, was the day I let myself free and embraced happiness and success. This blog is my voice and my place where I get to share a piece of me with the world wide web.
8. Sweat it– This one I knew works from the get go! My excuse: I can’t afford it. I don’t have time for it. I need the right clothes and shoes. I am just too tired….Yes, I am talking about the gym you guys! Exercise is one of the most dependable mood-boosters. Even a 10-minute walk can brighten your day and fill your attitude with confidence. So just do it!! You hear me?
9. Focus– Okay guys..we all go through tough times in life. Some might go through more tough times than others but we all get our share of tough times, which might leave us traumatized, understood. However, we somehow tend to become the misery itself by re-living it through our words and conversations and carrying it everywhere we go. It happens all the time! I meet some of the ladies in a support group of Domestic Violence talking about their experience and trauma (which is an apt place to do so), then I meet the same lady at party talking about that same story to a yet new group of people, later on one day I go to a hardware store and I see the same lady talking to the cashier about the same old story of the trauma she went through with her ex-husband!! You are what you focus on. Focus on positives to attract positivity in your life. Let your past remain an experience you learn from and create an identity that is about the individual you from here on and watch the room fill with happiness and smiles as soon as you enter. Wouldn’t that make you happy?
10. Take control- Sometimes I get mistaken by people who think I was born happy. So not true!! I try to pay attention consistently on my actions and attitude to control the level of happiness in my life. It might sound impossible but truly nobody can make us unhappy unless we give them control over our emotions. Yes there will be the ups and downs but happiness will prevail as long as you consciously take steps to make your life happier.
Use the steps above to be Happy and I promise you will see it work wonders in your life 🙂
Have an opinion or a comment about being happy? Don’t wait! Pour your hearts out in the comments section below. I would love to hear from you.